Carlson Nelson will be keynote speaker at Expo

Marilyn Carlson Nelson, described by Forbes magazine as one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 BizTech Conference Expo to be presented by BizTimes Milwaukee, April 29-30.

Marilyn is the chairman and former chief executive officer of Carlson, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States. Carlson is the parent corporation of Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Regent, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and TGI Friday’s. With headquarters in Minneapolis, Carlson-owned and franchised operations employ about 160,000 people in more than 150 countries.

Marilyn was named as one of the “Top 25 Executives in Business” by Business Week magazine and has been ranked by Travel Agent magazine as “The Most Powerful Woman in Travel” annually since 1997.

She is a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum and in 2004 co-chaired the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In 1996, she served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Tourism for President Bill Clinton. She was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the National Women’s Business Council in 2002.

Outside of her industry, Marilyn serves on the boards of Exxon Mobil Corp., the Mayo Clinic Foundation and the Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy.

Under her guidance, she expanded Carlson Companies into a global company.

Marilyn recently finished writing her first book, “How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership” (McGraw-Hill), which debuted at No. 1 on the 800-CEO-Read list of best-selling business books.

In the book, Marilyn shares deeply personal stories that offer wisdom about life, leadership, ambition and balance.

She chronicles her journey as a female CEO. One of her stories recalls how, in her first job as a securities analyst, she was asked to sign her name “M.C. Nelson” to disguise the fact that she was a woman.

The book is garnering rave reviews from key business leaders:

“Whether you run a Fortune 500 Company, a busy family – or both – you’ll find inspiration, warmth, and wisdom on every page.”

— Neville Isdell, chairman of the board, Coca-Cola Company.

“By turns humorous and heartfelt, this candid collection of snapshots by Marilyn offers valuable insights for anyone running a business or running a household.”

— James Dimon, chairman and CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

“Marilyn is a trailblazer – not only as a woman who was among the first to claim her place in the business world, but also as an amazing leader. In doing it all, she never lost sight of her sense of purpose – for her family and for her community.

— Ann Mulcahy, chairman and CEO, Xerox Corp.

“This book will give any reader an insight into the values and heart that drive an exceptional leader.”

— Brad Anderson, CEO, Best Buy Co.

“There were passages that made me laugh, inspired me, and gave me goose bumps… Marilyn’s stories are powerful life lessons that will benefit any and all. Her accomplishments and personal reflections are an inspiration.”

— Brenda Barnes, chairman and CEO, Sara Lee Corp.

Marilyn will kick off the 2009 BizTech Conference & Expo as the keynote speaker at a breakfast on April 29 at Wisconsin State Fair Park. Additional details about the 2009 BizTech Conference & Expo will be provided as the event draws near. More than 4,500 people attended the 2008 BizTech Conference & Expo.

For additional information about the event, visit

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